India rebukes UN chief's offer, says 'no scope for third party mediation' on Kashmir

Published February 17, 2020
United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres on Sunday offered his role as a mediator and said his "good offices" could be used for this purpose.  — AFP/File
United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres on Sunday offered his role as a mediator and said his "good offices" could be used for this purpose. — AFP/File

India has rejected United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres's offer for mediation on the Kashmir issue and said that "there is no role or scope for third party mediation", The Hindu reported on Monday.

Guterres had made the offer a day earlier in Islamabad while speaking at a joint press conference with Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi. The UN chief had called for resolution to the Kashmir dispute by honouring resolutions of the UN Security Council.

Guterres offered his role as a mediator and said his "good offices" could be used for this purpose. Discussing relations between Pakistan and India, he stressed the need for de-escalation, both militarily and verbally.

India rejected his offer for mediation late Sunday.

"The issue of [Jammu and Kashmir] that needs to be addressed is that of vacation of the territories illegally and forcibly occupied by Pakistan," claimed Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) spokesperson Raveesh Kumar. "Further issues, if any, would be discussed bilaterally. There is no role or scope for third party mediation."

According to The Hindu, Kumar said that India hopes Gutteres will "emphasise on the imperative for Pakistan to take credible, sustained and irreversible action to put an end to cross-border terrorism against India".

India Prime Minister Narendra Modi has alleged that Pakistan continues to wage a "proxy war" against India by "backing militants" in occupied Kashmir — a charge repeatedly denied by Pakistan — where tens of thousands of people have died in recent decades.

This is not the first time India has rejected an offer for mediation on the Kashmir dispute.

In July 2019, US President Donald Trump had expressed his willingness to mediate between India and Pakistan to resolve the 70-year-old Kashmir dispute — an offer he has repeated but has been rejected by India.

Last week, India took exception to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's unequivocal support for the people of Indian occupied Kashmir (IoK) and told Turkey to "not interfere in India's internal affairs."

Guterres offer's mediation

On Sunday, Guterres, while discussing Pakistan and India's relations, had said: "We have taken position about the need for Security Council’s resolutions to be implemented for effective de-escalation."

"Another important aspect, which needs full respect of human rights and continental freedom in Jammu & Kashmir, is that people should have free movement as it has in Pakistan’s side. I hope this will also be achieved on the other side [India]. I have offered my good offices in relation to the situation and our position is that the Security Council’s resolutions be implemented," he added.

Guterres said that UN Military Observers Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP) should be given free access, Indian Express reported.

"It is already there on the Pakistan side, and it should also be given on the other side," he said.

"Diplomacy and dialogue remain the only tools that guarantee peace and stability with solutions in accordance with the Charter of United Nations and resolutions of the Security Council," the UN chief said, adding that he had repeatedly "reiterated my offer to exercise my good offices should both sides ask".

Talking about occupied Kashmir and tensions along the Line of Control, the UN chief said he was "deeply concerned" and had "repeatedly stressed the importance of exercising maximum restraint".

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